Beaches, music, history and scenery; there isn’t much that you can name that Cuba doesn’t have on offer. This small island off the coast of South America is loud, lively and full of unexpected sights and activities to discover, making it one of the most popular locations for a holiday in recent years.
Visiting Cuba in July will expose you to some of the stormy weather belonging to the country’s wet season, but this should not deter your decision to stay. July is one of the most interesting months in Cuba’s cultural calendar, and travelling outside of the tourist season will provide you with a much more authentic experience of the island.
Reasons to visit Cuba in July
- The country’s biggest and most famous carnival takes place in July in Santiago de Cuba, and is an unmissable cultural event
- July sees less rain than the surrounding months of the wet season, so your trip won’t be interrupted by storms the entire time
- Whilst beach resorts and coastal areas are likely to be very full in July, popular places like Havana and Trinidad will have emptied of tourists and are much less busy than usual
Weather in Cuba in July
July is one of the hottest and most humid months of the year in Cuba, but despite being part of the country’s wet season there doesn’t tend to be that much rain. Weather in July in Cuba will likely be best in the mornings, with rain and tropical storms more likely to strike in the afternoons and then clear by the evenings.
Chances of a hurricane in Cuba in July are minimal, but there is a higher risk than if you were visiting during the island’s dry season. And whilst most heavy rain showers pass quickly, you may encounter a few longer-lasting tropical storms during your stay.
Temperatures in Cuba in July are high, with top average temperatures reaching 32°C in the middle of the afternoon. The lowest average temperature in July is 23°C, so it is worth ensuring that your accommodation has air conditioning as this will make it a lot easier to get to sleep at night despite the heat.
July is also an incredibly humid month in Cuba, and heat is likely to feel even more oppressive because of this. Make sure that you bring a lot of light clothing, and stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day to keep cool.
The temperature of the sea in Cuba in July is a very high 29°C which is ideal for swimming when the weather is good. Taking a dip in the ocean is one of the best ways to cool off during the humid July heat, but make sure that you are never in the water during a storm.
Clouds and Rainfall
July experiences less rain than other months in Cuba’s wet season, with 12 days of rainfall on average and the middle of the month tending to be the driest point. Any rain that does appear will tend to fall in the afternoon, and most showers will be heavy but won’t last for very long.
Unlike the previous month, cloud coverage in July decreases as the month progresses, and you will likely see more sunshine during the day as August approaches.
There are nine hours of sunshine every day on average in Cuba in July, with the sun tending to rise just before 7 am and setting around 8.15 pm every evening. When out in the sunshine you will be exposed to strong UV rays, so make sure that you regularly apply sun cream whilst outside to stay protected.
Where to go in Cuba in July
Santiago de Cuba
July is one of the best times to visit Santiago de Cuba because of the events that take place in the city during the month, but there is more to the location than just festivals and carnivals. Santiago is known as the most diverse city on the island because of its strong Caribbean roots, and if you can handle the heat and humidity that July brings to the city then you won’t be disappointed with what else you discover.
Famous for its colonial history and musical heritage, Santiago is an excellent place to visit if you want to experience both the Caribbean laid-back atmosphere and the energetic Cuban spirit. As well as relaxing on the beaches when the weather is good or sipping rum cocktails in the evenings, you can also appreciate the city’s history at the Museo Emilio Bacardí Moreau or admire the impressive El Castillo del Morro San Pedro de la Roca fortress that was built to protect the area from pirates.
María la Gorda
If you are desperate for a beach holiday in Cuba in July but don’t want to spend your time in a packed beach resort, then the small settlement of María la Gorda is an ideal destination. Situated on the west of the island, the area is mainly frequented by those who are serious about diving, and only has a small shop, diving centre, a hotel and two restaurants.
The beaches at María la Gorda are perfect and unspoiled, and on dry and sunny days they offer the perfect solitary spot for rest and relaxation.
Whilst other travellers are flocking to the coast, those who want to spend their time exploring Cuba’s more urban areas should visit Trinidad. This large town is in central Cuba and doesn’t see too many tourists over the summer season, meaning you can enjoy escaping the heat in the town’s museums or admiring the colourful buildings lining the streets in peace.
The centre of Trinidad is a UNESCO World Heritage site with famously cobbled streets and does not allow any traffic. You can sit in the beautiful Plaza Mayor or visit all of its surrounding museums on a cloudy afternoon, or head north to the Loma de la Vigía hill that overlooks Trinidad for some excellent views of the area.
Things to do in Cuba in July
Take a Road Trip
A great way to explore a lot of Cuba over your holiday in July is taking a road trip around a number of popular locations, either in a modern car or one of the classic, vintage vehicles that the country is famous for. You can do a circle of the whole island if you are staying for a long time, or just cruise along the coast between Havana and Varadero or Trinidad and Cienfuegos for a day.
Try Salsa Dancing Classes
If you are out and about in the evenings in Cuba then you will likely come across a bar or restaurant with live music, which often leads to an impromptu salsa dancing session from the locals. Whether you want to be prepared for the music at Santiago’s carnival, or just want to know what you are doing in a nightclub, many cities like Havana offer salsa dancing lessons for tourists to get you up to speed on how to move to the infectious beat of Cuban music.
Explore the Museum of the Revolution
With July hosting the most important date in the history of the Cuban Revolution, a trip to the museum dedicated to the country’s political history is an appropriate activity for an afternoon where the rain sends you seeking cover. The museum is in the impressive neo-classical Presidential Palace in Havana and features artefacts, images and stories that detail the country’s communist rebuilding.
Visit the Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Another great place to pass the time when the weather is bad in Cuba is the Hotel Nacional in Havana, which is possibly the country’s famous hotel. Whilst rates to stay overnight are very high, you can still visit the bar or restaurant if you are not a guest and marvel at the famous figures who have graced the rooms you are now sitting in.
Crowds & costs
Although the weather in Cuba tends to be incredibly humid throughout the month, July is one of the busiest times of year on the island, as many Cuban residents take their holidays and enjoy discount prices for locals at beach resorts across the country. Prices for foreign visitors will be high in coastal areas and are best booked well in advance to secure the best deals.
Cities and regions that do not have a lot of beach resorts will be quieter during July, as the majority of crowds congregate in places like Varadero or Caya Coco. Whilst hotel, flight and car rental prices may rise a little during the month they are still significantly lower than during peak tourist season.
July festivals & events
Festival del Fuego
In the first weeks of July every year, the city of Santiago de Cuba hosts the Festival del Fuego, also known as the Festival del Caribe. The festival is held to celebrate Caribbean culture, people and history with parades, performances, workshops, talks and numerous street parties.
The festival’s main event is the fire parade on the final evening, which begins with a ritual salute to a god from the Palo Monte religion, Nzambi Congo. The parade then finishes with the burning of a giant devil statue and huge drum performance, followed by celebrations that usually last until the morning.
Santiago de Cuba Carnival
The most famous event that takes place in Santiago de Cuba in July, and perhaps the most famous event in all of Cuba, is the traditional carnival that brings together music, dance, colour and the infectious party spirit of the city. As the most diverse Cuban city, Santiago de Cuba is the perfect place to celebrate the mix of cultures and traditions that create the famous carnival celebration, which is one of the most popular events all year round.
A famous element of the carnival are the congas, which are very different from the western version of the dance that involves following a line of people around a room. Santiago de Cuba’s congas are groups of local musicians that travel through the streets during a carnival, playing driving rhythms and collecting dancers as they pass, and are a unique phenomenon that ought to be witnessed, and joined if you are feeling brave!
Dia de la Rebeldía Nacional
The 26th of July in Cuba is a significant date in its revolution history, known as the Day of National Rebellion. Celebrating the date in which Santiago de Cuba’s Moncada Barracks was attacked, and when the Cuban revolution was said to have officially begun, this day in July is celebrated in every city across the country.
Cuban residents take to the streets to celebrate the country and its communist triumph, with televised speeches from political figures and, this being Cuba, street parties, live music and outdoor performances.
Frequently asked questions about Cuba in July
What is the rainy season in Cuba?
Cuba has two distinct seasons; wet and dry, and the rainy season takes place from May to October. Temperatures during this time tend to be high and the weather is wet and humid, with high chances of heavy rainfall every day a very small risk of hurricanes.
Is Cuba too hot in July?
July is one of the hottest and most humid months in Cuba with an average high of 32°C during the day, and those who are not used to very high temperatures might find the climate uncomfortable. However, many places have air conditioning to help with the heat, and you can stay cool by keeping indoors or swimming in the sea.
How expensive is Cuba?
Cuba is considered to be more affordable than other Caribbean islands like Barbados or Guadalupe but is more expensive than nearby South American and Mexican countries. This is because there is a second currency for visitors to the country, so you will be paying tourists prices for the entirety of your stay.
Cuba is considered a location that is still relatively untouched by tourism, and visiting the country in July will provide you with a real look at everyday life on the island, as well as traditional festivals and events that celebrate Cuba’s unique culture and history. Coming to Cuba in July means that your holiday takes place before the tropical storms really settle in, and you should be able to enjoy a good amount of sunshine as you explore and enjoy both rural and urban areas.